Title

‘I feel like a foreign agent’: NGOs and corporate social responsibility interventions into Third World child labor

Document Type

Article

Publication details

Khan, FR, Westwood, R, & Boje, DM 2010 '‘I feel like a foreign agent’: NGOs and corporate social responsibility interventions into Third World child labor', Human Relations, vol. 63, no. 9, pp. 1417-1438.

Published version available from:

http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1177/0018726709359330

Peer Reviewed

Peer-Reviewed

Abstract

A field study focused on a Western-led Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) intervention into Pakistan’s soccer ball industry is used to explore the dynamics surrounding local Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) staff charged with implementation. Those dynamics include the post-colonial conditions pervasive in Third World contexts that frame the perception, interpretation, and reaction to Western interventions. NGO staff must navigate these conditions, which impel them into multiple subject positions and contradictory rationalities resulting in unsatisfactory experiences. Like many Western-led interventions resting on universalistic, paternalistic, de-contextualizing, and atomistic assumptions, this one brought negative unintended consequences. This leads to a suggested reconfiguration of CSR from a post-colonial perspective insistent on an inclusive ‘bottom-up’, ‘reversed engineered’ approach, wherein CSR problems are traced back to Western multinational corporations’ policies and practices.